England v South Africa
Thursday 8 August, 11:00
TV: Live on Sky Sports
Bowlers to the fore
With cloud cover, moisture in the air and under foot and a recent record for bowlers doing well, it could very much feel like a bowl-first morning on day one. Indeed, with the forecast as one might expect for September, batting could be tricky throughout.
It might not be great game to be an opener. England's Zak Crawley and Alex Lees are out of form. Here they may be able to claim 'got a good one early'. The same goes for South African pair Dean Elgar and Sarel Erwee.
Openers in the first- and second-innings at the venue in the last five years average a combined 19.66. Shorting Crawley, then, at 19.5 at 5/6 and Erwee at 18.5 at 5/6 seems reasonable. Bet the Sportsbook markets here.
For tops wagers it would make sense to look lower down. Shardul Thakur won from No 8 last summer in the first dig and Ollie Pope likewise at No 6. Chris Woakes scored a fifty in the same innings.
Ben Foakes has obvious appeal off the back of a win at Old Trafford and being on his home ground. Sportsbook's 12/1 is value. Ben Stokes got a ton on this ground against South Africa in 2017. he is 6s. Ollie Robinson may be worth a few pence at 66s.
For South Africa Marco Jansen is a little skinny at 16s. A more punchy pick might be Keshav Maharaj at 33s. Kyle Verreynne has tight enough technique and the grit to go well at 8/1, too. Bet the Sportsbook markets here.
England first-innings top bat wins/matches
Struggling Markram has to be taken on if he plays
There plenty of other prices which rate logical wagers across the markets with a bowler-dominated game likely.
First of we like Ollie Robinson and Lungi Ngidi for top England and South Africa bowler respectively at 11/4 and 4/1 respectively. The fit the type of bowler who has done well in the last three Tests at the venue.
Aiden Markram is a man under pressure after struggling to adapt to English batting conditions. He might not hold onto his spot.
If he does, Sportsbook's player performance quote (1pt per run, 10 per catch and 20 per wicket) is a cast-iron sell at 78.5 at 5/6. Markram career's make-up is 71.7. This year it is 48.5, the year before 39.7.
Finally, we like the 9/4 that Ben Foakes takes three or more catches in the first innings. We think it should be around 9/5. Bet the Sportsbook markets here.
England v South Africa analysis on Cricket...Only Bettor